Thursday, January 31, 2013

Catherine Bailey

Catherine Bailey's blog is an excellent resource for writers and illustrators alike. There are so many great quality resources on this site that it's almost unbelievable. When I first looked (by looked I mean browsed quickly) at this site I was greatly deceived. There are short concise (but very informative) posts and I thought "oh hey there are links". Those links are invaluable for writers, but before you click on them read the posts!  They are informative, witty and just plain fun. You can check out her website here:

I got a giggle out of reading Catherine's blog. The most current post cracked me up (maybe a little more than it should have). The following post is a great interview with Anna Staniszewski. Catherine starts this interview with asking Anna about her favourite funny word. SPOILER ALERT: It's duck! Makes me wonder if she'd laugh at me... ha, ha, ha. Catherine makes for a wonderful interviewer. She asks the questions that we all really want to know, and allows those she interviews to really shine.

My favourite part of Catherine's blog is the resources she has for writer's and illustrators. She has listings for several publishers on her website. She also gives updates when she finds them about which publishers no longer accept work. Along with this Catherine gives links to blogs and other websites that will help writer's and illustrators on their path to becoming published. I especially love when she gives readers a glimpse into her own life, writing or otherwise.

There are so many layers to Catherine's blog. She does anything from book reviews, to resources all while letting you in to see what her life is like being a children's author. As there are layers to her blog there are to Catherine herself. She has been a professional researcher, a graphic designer and a Cartoon Network intern. All these wonderful things have helped to to create the great blog she has today. I highly recommend you check out her blog!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All the Lovely Forgetfulness

Though the title of this post is about forgetfulness, the truth is I didn't forget. If I had forgotten completely I wouldn't be kicking myself right now for not posting. It was a needed vacation from posting because I had a lot of work to do and little time to do it.

I've been working over the past month to become a financial advisor. I know, I know, what I really want to become is an illustrator, so why take on any other job? The answer of course is money in more ways than one (flexibility is another that this job will offer me). Unfortunately not submitting illustrations makes it impossible to get paid for them. I'm getting close, but even then there is a small chance that I wont be able to make millions in the first couple of months.

Though having money is good, the information that I've been learning lately is invaluable. I'm usually the one dealing with the family finances, so learning about investing, RRSPs, insurance and the like is helpful even if I never end up working (I have a job lined up already, though). In order to for me to start working I have to first pass an exam, which involves an online course and studying (blah).  Today I took the big exam and I hope I passed, because I'm so done with studying. I went to University and even got a degree, but I think I studied less in both HS and University less than the time I put into studying for this exam.

It's basically been the studying that's kept me from drawing and even posting so much. I really hope that I've passed this exam, so I can go back to spending my time drawing! Cross your fingers for me, and if you know a genie, please send him my way!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ed Emberley's Drawing Books

Usually it's best to stick with one book when doing a book review, but I thought "What the hay, we'll just do them all in one go."  And that's what I did.

Oh, yeah, I haven't done anything yet. Clarification needed? Now that's just asking for too much!

Today I'm going to write about Ed Emberley's massive drawing book collection. I don't take the word massive lightly either! Ed Emberley has created almost every type of drawing book a kid would ever need. There are of course the colour books. From green to orange, red to umm... whatever other colours there were - chances are that Ed Emberley had a book that matched your favourite colour. 

My favourite part about Emberley's books is that almost anyone could do the drawings in these books. Yes, I know I'm an artist and could literally do any of these drawings without help, but I couldn't always! Emberley breaks down each drawing into easy shapes for kids to draw. 

Can you draw a triangle, a circle, a rectangle, and maybe some wavy lines? If your answer is yes, then you can draw anything in these books. Really, that's all there is to it! Want to do a bit more? Then he'll help there too!

The great thing about these books is that this is really the way an artist draws. Make basic shapes (in correct proportion) and connect them together to draw anything that can be imagined. It's a wonderful start to a kid's art education.

One of my favourite books (or was it part of a book?) was the book where there was a face making game. I believe there was dice that was rolled and the roller had to draw a part of a person. The end result was usually a very funny drawing. 

There were so many books that I couldn't tell you half of them! There is a thumbprint book, where you just add details to create your drawings. I loved the large structures that Emberley would add into his big "colour" books - the ships always being my favourites. I always had a special place in my heart for the orange book, but I think it was my favourite colour at the time.  Animals, trains, ships, people, robots and so much more are things a person can learn to draw with these books. Don't know what to draw? Draw the world with Ed Emberley's Drawing Book "Make A World"!  

I love these books so very much, and I hope that those who read this will pick up a copy (they have most new versions at the major booksellers). Even if there are no kids to give this to, it's good to pick up just for personal education. I'm going to make it my personal mission to collect as many of these as I can. Uh, for my son... yeah. Not for me, because I draw already! 

A great big THANK YOU to Ed Emberley for creating these wonderful books!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why I Failed to Post: A Visual Story

Yesterday I did not forget to post. I was too ill to make a post. I feel bad about this so today I'm making up for it with a visual description of what happened yesterday.


Yesterday my head felt so bad
and all the work was done by dad.

Dad soon turned ill and climbed in bed.                            Closed his eyes, his face filled with dread.   
I said, "I'm sick, please watch him dear." 
He sighed and left the room in fear.

I don't know why he fears our boy.                     He's so dear, sweet and full of joy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Missing Spring

Missing Spring

All of this cold rain
A bit of fog and some snow
Please come back soon, sun

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Evelyn B. Christensen

Today I'm excited to bring you a review of Evelyn B. Christensen's website. Evelyn is different than the other people I've blogged about. Evelyn's site is not only that of a person who writes non-fiction, but educational non-fiction to boot! You can see her website here: (but don't click on the link until you've read the review.. unless you just can't wait). Her webpage is packed full of puzzle games, books, resources for writers and "Writing for Children's Magazines" an e-zine that she publishes bi-monthly.

When you enter Evelyn's website you'll notice she's an Award-Winning Author & Puzzle creator. Is her work really award worthy you might ask? Well if it's anything like her website, than yes, yes it is. There is a list of all of Evelyn's books and links to buy them online. Evelyn's two top award-winning books are "Aba-Conundrums" and "Inchamals". 

"Aba-Conundrums" is a neat puzzle book where one can solve puzzles with an abucus (and yes the abucus is included). There is also a dry erase maker so that a child can solve the problems again and again. I loved my abucus as a child and I wish I had a fun game book to go with it!

"Inchimals" comes with 12 wooden blocks, each a different inch in size. Each block has the number of inches of the block and cute animals on each block. The book included has picture adding puzzles so even someone as young as 3 could play. 

Evelyn has not one, but several pages of puzzles for kids to do. There are word searches, logic grid puzzles, math colouring puzzles, and crossword puzzles just to name a few! If your kid has done everything on this site don't despair! Evelyn posts new puzzle pages every week and changes at least four of the activity downloads on her Teacher's/Parent's page every week. And don't forget to buy the books as well!

If the above wasn't enough Evelyn has resources for writers as well. "Writing for Children's Magazines" is an e-zine that Evelyn publishes bi-monthly. The articles submitted for this e-zine are informative and even funny. Evelyn does an excellent job finding great articles for her e-zine. Beyond her magazine there are a whole resource of articles she's written, a list of educational markets for children's writers, and many tips to help a writer on their way.

Please check out Evelyn's fabulous website. Be sure to purchase one of Evelyn's books for a child in your life. These kinds of books make great gifts (I loved getting them as a child) and children learn a lot from these. I know I will be buying some when my son is old enough to not eat his writing utensils. 

I Forgot

I had written these around 10pm tonight while I was waiting for my husband so I could drive him home from work. I was happy because I had been worried I wouldn't have anything to post, and then I forgot to make the post when I got home. I'm going to go to bed tonight and not forget to post in the morning.

I Forgot

I forgot something.
I think it was important.
Maybe not? Oh, well!

I Remembered

I'm so happy now.
I remembered something good!
Forgot what it was.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Art Supplies Wish List

I started tonight wanting to work on one of my "Wreck My Journal" pages. I decided to do the sewing page. Tried about three times to thread the needle and decided to forget the whole thing and make a new Pinterest board. I'm going to use this board to pin all the art supplies that I want... no... NEED.  Also it might serve as a shopping list when I get refills of supplies. For any artists out there: What are your favourite supplies? Check out my list here:  It will grow with time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

But Not the Hippopotamus

"But Not the Hippopotamus" by Sandra Boynton is as silly and cute as it sounds. All the animals in this book get to do things, "but not the hippopotamus." I`ve read this lovely little book to my son more times than I care to remember. You know what? It's funny every time!

The character's are really well drawn and the colour scheme, though not saturated, is very appealing. The backgrounds are minimal which brings focus to the characters. Though these characters don't speak their personality shows through from the way they are drawn. 

There are many Sandra Boynton books that are wonderful. My son also loves "Barnyard Dance" and "Happy Birthday, Pookie", the reason why I chose this one is because it's the first one that I read to my son. It's also my favourite out of all of Sandra's books that I've read.

If you are looking for a great board book for the baby on your list pick this up. If you have no babies to buy for please check this book out anyway. I guarantee that you will at least get a smile out of it (and a giggle if you have any sense of humour... and yes it's your fault if you can't see the funny). It's at your local library or book store. No one has to know you don't know someone this age. It will be our little secret!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

When I'm Bored

So I'm bored and join Pinterest because some random person says it's a good idea. I spend hours on the site collecting pictures into different boards. I keep starting boards, but rarely finish a board reasonably well. It doesn't matter either, because it's Pinterest and we just all steal eachothers pictures and post them on our walls because we can. Then we re-pin other people's pins until everyone has all the photos ever taken on all of their boards. Sound awesome? Well it's mildly so! I have a board so you can check it out: Join and you too can pin aimlessly with the rest of us. Sound like I hate Pinterest? No, it's great for boredom and teapots that look like the T.A.R.D.I.S.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Because I Didn't Have Time

Today I didn't have time to come up with anything new. So today I'm going to post something I wrote back in University (all those many, many years ago). Note: It may have taken me longer to find this than it would have to come up with something new, oh well!

In Session


Knowing tomorrow you will do it all again.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Cold Poetry


I do not like this thing called cold
It makes me mean (or so I'm told).
My fingers and toes feel like ice
I can't get warm and that's not nice
I shiver and shake all day long
I can't even play and that's wrong
Blanket-wrapped the winter I'll spend
No more to say: this is the end

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Christina Farley

Christina Farley is not only a published author, but she likes to help other people become published too. Her blog is filled with tips for writers. The thing that really makes Christina stand out is that these tips for writers are expounded upon in her collection of Youtube videos that she's created herself.

Christina's writing tips vary greatly. She talks about anything from "Plot Grids" to "Creating Unique Details in Your Setting". Not all of Christina's post link to a Youtube video on the same subject, but these two do. They are both very much worth checking out in written and video form. Christina is very well spoken and is very professional in both her look and the way she puts her videos together. Please go check out her videos if you are interested in writing! Christina also writes articles like, "Author Skype Visits" which specifically focus on the needs of a published writer.

There is much to Christina's blog beyond helping writers out with their craft. Christina keeps the reader up to date on many of her friend's books that are on their way to being published. She gets so excited for her friend's publishing achievements that you'd think they were her own. It's very sweet and the reviews of the books are very enticing.

Though it should never be what brings you to a blog, Christina's blog has really nice prizes. She also gives a heads up when she finds good contests. If this is not enough to get you to read her blog you should also know that she cares about the world around her. She made a lovely post in December about the shooting in Connecticut. She donated herself to this cause and that says a lot about her character.

I hope that you check out Christina's blog and Youtube. If you'd like to follow here on twitter follow her @christinafarley and on Pinterest: I know you'll enjoy Christina's videos.

See you all tomorrow for a new post on an undecided subject!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Preview of Things to Come

I was hoping to finish this painting this week, but this week has turned out to be busier than I expected. Here is a detail showing my progress. I would show the whole thing, but it's almost done and too close to the finished work.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013



Jumping, jumping in the air
Flying high without a care
Someday, someday down I'll fall
Maybe soon or not at all

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

I've been meaning to start writing about my (and my son's) favourite children's books, but I just haven't gotten around to it, until now. 

You may have guessed that my son's favourite game is Angry Birds (for the record I really hate when he steals my phone to play this). I believe it is the popularity of this game that drew my son to this book, because the main character is a bird that looks similar to an Angry Bird, but by no means is a rip-off of such. 

The book is about Bird who wakes up grumpy. He's too angry to fly, so he walks. On his journey he meets up with a bunch of friends who walk with him. Bird's friends are sweet and understanding throughout Bird's grumpy day. I have fun reading this story to my son every time because Bird is very expressive and has a great (though grumpy) personality. I also love any children's book that makes me laugh and this one does time and time again. 

Illustrations by Jeremy Tankard.

One thing not to miss about this book is the wonderful illustrations. The illustrations are brightly coloured and are whimsical. The backgrounds add to the whimsy of the drawings and their colours seem to portray different moods of Bird and his friends. Each page has a single colour that stands out on each page, but none of these overwhelm or take focus from the characters in the story. Every time I read the books I find something new to enjoy about these books.

If you are in the mood for a wonderful children's story please check this one out, and if you want to know more about the author you can visit his website here:  You can also buy his book here. This is the first of Jeremy's books I've picked up and this certainly wont be the last.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I met Jeremy Tankard at Vancouver's Word on the Street last year! He was wonderful and signed David's book with an awesome Bird drawing! He's very easy to talk to and I'm glad that he's writing books, because kids need great books like this to grow up with.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

An Unpost or Something of the Like

I don't know if I'll get around to posting much tonight. Have a dinner date at the In-Laws! Lots of good things to come so please stay tuned. No, really, sit in front of your computer refreshing the screen until I post again.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's an Angry Birds Cake!

Here is the final result of all the Angry Bird chaos that was once in my fridge. It took some rearranging (the birds started on the lower half, but had to be moved) and a bit of patience to make this work. The slingshot was a last minute buy at the dollar store. It proved too difficult to make out of fondant or cookies. Thanks to my MIL for helping me do this!

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Freezer Overrun by Angry Birds

My freezer has officially been overthrown by Angry Birds. Today my Mother-in-law got together and made several fondant Angry Birds/Piggies, the Piggies structure and a cake.  It was a lot of work but I think there wont be much problem tomorrow putting it all together (and yes I'll have to put much of it together after I get to where his party is being hosted. This causes a bit of a problem because I'm not sure how quickly I can put it together.

All the recipes we used were from All Recipes .com We used this recipe Rolled Buttercream Fondant this fondant's taste is reasonable and is good to top the cake with, but it's terrible for sculpting with. The greasiness alone is reason enough to steer clear of this for sculpting. Because this recipe uses shortening it gets softer faster than other recipes. In my case it did not help that my place was too warm (no control over the thermostat, and even having a window open didn't help). I would only use this recipe again as a foundation. I prefer to use this recipe: Rolling Fondant Recipe but I didn't find my gelatin until after I finished making the other.

For the eyes and white details we used Royal Icing III. We did use baking powder in place of cream of tartar. This is a good recipe for making gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, and details. I found it terrible to use as the sole decorator for sugar cookies! We also used this to put all of our cookie structures together that I will be placing on the cake tomorrow.

On the cake itself we used Simple and Delicious Buttercream Frosting. This worked well for icing the base of our cake! I'd love to show you what all this looks like, but I'm going to save it for my next post, so you can see the final product as a whole.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Terry Lynn Johnson

I visited a website today that made me feel really cold at first, but in a good way! The website is: It's no wonder I felt cold looking at her website because it's all about dogsledding!

Breathtaking photos pull you into a winter wonderland that's full of fuzzy goodness. Though the theme and colours on this site are cold, Terry's home page is very warm and inviting. I could not refuse to delve deeper into this website, because I felt a kinship to Terry from her welcome message (it must be because she too loves dogs!)

Terry herself is very interesting. Reading about her life is very entertaining. The pictures are great and one can get a good sense of her personality just from this bit of information. From this part you can assume that Terry really knows a lot about what she writes about (which is, of course, dogsledding), but if you go down to the Fun section of her website you will learn a lot about dogsledding!

Terry's blog has a lot of beautiful and cute pictures within. I do hope that she starts posting again because her writing is as lovely as the pictures within! While I'm talking about beautiful and cute pictures, be sure to check out the gallery under the Fun section of her website. there are pictures of gorgeous dogs, and the puppies are so sweet they will make you cry!

Since Terry is a writer I shouldn't forget to tell you about her books before I go! She has two currently. The first is Dogsled Dreams and the second is Ice Dogs. The latter will be coming out in Fall of this year! Dogsled dreams is about a girl named Rebecca who wants to be a famous sled dog racer. I'll let you read the summary for yourself (watch out for "flying poo missles" ha ha ha). I hope you will enjoy checking out Terry's website and pick up her book Dogsled Dreams when you have the chance!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Progress on Paintings

I've been working on these acrylic paintings for a while... or should I say not working on them? I wanted to show you the progress on both paintings, but it seems as though I never took an original image of the painting of David's grandfather. Note there is some distortion from my camera's flash and the fact that I took these on  a cell phone camera. I'm not sure why I did those colours on the second painting... maybe it was my frustration from not working enough in colour! I hope to have these finished within the next couple of months. We'll see what pops up before then!



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Those Mad Avians

I'm working on a drawing that I want to finish for my son's 2nd birthday. He's in love with Angry Birds. When I finish this it will end up on the wall of his bedroom.

Monday, January 7, 2013

For My Son on His Birthday

My son David turned two today. Though I don't think it's quite finished I wanted to share this poem I wrote for him.

For David

Oh my lovely little boy
Your sweet presence is a joy
You wake me up every day
Crack of dawn so you can play
Can't climb up there but you still try
Jump from high though you can't fly
Every day you make a mess
(The floor I see less and less)
You build great towers with blocks
Then down again you will knock
You love to scream oh so loud
Then dart into the mall crowd
That book we read once or twice
Every night (and that one thrice)
Even though you are quite wild
I love you my David child

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Some Pencil Rubbings

Today I've decided to show the results of my recent Wreck This Journal page. Today I decided to do the pencil rubbings page. I'm not sure if I like the result, and the practice was neat but it left me wondering if I was wasting my time. I mean, I love the idea behind Wreck This Journal, because it can help a person tap into being more free with their creative work. I do know that you can't do these wrong, but why do I always feel like I'm doing them wrong? I must be crazy expecting a work of art out of a book that I'm supposed to trash. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Cat

My Cat

My Cat
She's Fat
And that's that

My New Link List

I know this post is very, very late. It took me much longer than I thought to get it all together. It's even worse that I started it after midnight my time! It's still the fourth somewhere in the world so I'm okay, right?

This is to inform you all of a new page I've created called the Best Link List Ever! (yes it says people to follow... that was my original idea and I changed it, so I guess I'm stuck with it for now)

This has links to every single webpage, blog, facebook and twitter account that I've blogged about in the past. All of these are very much worth visiting and following. Most of these are authors and illustrators. Many of these have great resources for artists and writers and some have fun things for kids. You should be careful with some of these sites because they can become very addicting! If you click on a person's name (or webpage's name) you will be linked back to my blog post about said person (or webpage).

If one of your links is displayed on this page and it needs updated or removed please feel free to contact me at daniduckart(@)  Don't forget to remove the brackets. I really want to keep this list updated, and love to keep in touch with the creators of these pages.

Visit, click, enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Angelina C. Hansen's Blog and Websites

As promised I will continue to bring you blogs of interesting people who write or illustrate in the Children's/YA book industry. Today I'm going to introduce you to Angelina C. Hansen. Angelina has two web sites that are great in their own right. The first is which contains her wonderful blog and other neat things, and the second is which is the website for her   new MG novel.

Angelina's blog is set up to encourage people to think. Usually her posts start out with a quote. Her most recent quote being:  "'Writing is turning one's worst moments into money.' - J. P. Donleavy" After the quote she will often reflect on her own life, and delve deeper into the meaning of the quote. Then she usually ends her blog post with a question or two that she wants her readers to answer. I'll have to say that I'm impressed that she can find so many quotes relating to what she wants to talk about. I've tried this a couple of times (for both books and online writing) and I'll have to say that I found it incredibly difficult to find a quote that related to what I wanted to talk about (or vice versa). Angelina's posts aren't long, but are very thought provoking. These posts are the perfect thing to read in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea.

Other than her blog, Angelina's website has a lot of neat features. Her bio is a fun read, her photo gallery has several lovely pictures, and it's interesting to read about her works in progress. The main page of her website has a quote of the week and some websites to check out. After you are done with her website don't forget to follow Angelina on Twitter: Angelina does a lot of updates on Twitter and has a lot of good information as well as fun updates.

Angelina's other website is just full of fun. There isn't much on the website itself yet, but her related twitter posts are another thing entirely. Angelina has created a cute little alien character that has it's own website and makes fun twitter posts.  Ace loves gummy worms and needs lots of love, so please tweet him!

I hope you have as much fun exploring Angelina's works as I did. I am now a follower of all there is to follow  for Angelina, because she's so much fun. Thank you, Angelina for introducing me to your lovely self!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Painting For a Friend

I did this painting for a friend just before Christmas, but haven't had a chance to share it yet.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolution Time!

Goodness is it the New Year already? (she types at 10:23 pm on January 1st)  I'm exhausted, sick, and was about to go to bed before making a post. Yes I was about to go to bed before making a post on a blog that I wanted to be a daily blog. Good job, Dani, blow your New Year's resolution before you can even put it into effect.

So I have several things I want to put into my New Year's resolution, but the biggest is this blog.  Here are my lists of hopeful resolutions for this year:

1. Post On My Blog On a Daily Basis. Hopefully I'll be able to post a new pic weekly, but I wont make any promises. I will try to post a website review weekly of some other good authors/illustrators. I would also like to post about all my favourite children's books. I'm talking about all the lovely books I've read growing up. This will hopefully be a weekly event as well. I might as well try to finish (or should I say start since I did so little of it?) my "Wreck This Journal" pages. I'll keep you updated on any progress I am making on publishing (especially if there is artwork I can't publish here). And any fan art, commissions or fine art I work on in the little spare time that I do have. IF I DO MISS A DAY: I will try to make up for this plain and simple.

2. Send Out Work To Be Published I want to start submitting my artwork to magazines to start. I sent one piece that has yet to be published (or refused publishing) for the SCBWI journal. Other than that I fail at submissions for this year. This will include designing and printing promotional material. Really easy for me to do since my father-in-law owns a print shop.

3. Finish My In-Progress Picture Book I have a picture book that I need to finish up in order to submit. Main focus is on creating a dummy and getting the text edited. After this I may re-do some of the sample paintings for this.

4. Come Up With (AT LEAST) 8 Picture Book Ideas I'm always thinking of picture book ideas, but never writing them down. This may be only writing down the ideas, but ideally I will also be writing partial texts to be edited, and maybe even some neat pictures to go along with this.

I have other personal goals that I will be working on this year as well. These include the obligatory get healthy/loose weight resolutions, but also include things like working on earning more money, spending more quality time with family, getting organized and moving into a better place. I really hope that I can achieve all of these, but this year is about working towards publishing. Once that happens I think a lot of the other stuff will fall into place.

Here's to a great 2013!